Category Archives: Imperialism

What Does Winning Mean in a Forever War? by Patrick J. Buchanan

The ones who “win” from US forever wars are defense and intelligence contractors. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

When a Wall Street Journal editorial warned this week against any precipitous U.S. withdrawal that might imperil our gains in Afghanistan, an exasperated President Trump shot back:

“Could someone please explain to them that we have been there for 19 years. … and except at the beginning, we never really fought to win.”

Is that true? Did we “never really” fight to win during our 19-year war in Afghanistan, except when we first ousted the Taliban in 2001?

At one point in this longest American war against al-Qaida and the Taliban, Barack Obama surged 100,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan.

The issue here is with the terminology.

In the forever wars of the Middle East, what does “winning” mean?

To those of us who grew up in the mid-20th century, victory was Gen. MacArthur standing on the deck of the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay as top-hatted Japanese diplomats signed the articles of surrender.

Victory was unmistakable and irreversible.

Five years after V-J day, however, came Korea, a war that lasted three years and ended in deadlock, stalemate and a truce along the 38th parallel, where the North-South war had begun in June of 1950.

Vietnam also came to be called a “no-win war.”

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How the British Empire Created and Killed George Orwell, by Martin Sieff

A fascinating look at what may have been George Orwell’s real motivations. From Martin Sieff at strategic-culture.org:

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), happily amplified by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in the United States which carries its World News, continues to pump out its regular dreck about the alleged economic chaos in Russia and the imagined miserable state of the Russian people.

It is all lies of course. Patrick Armstrong‘s authoritative regular updates including his reports on this website are a necessary corrective to such crude propaganda.

But amid all their countless fiascoes and failures in every other field (including the highest per capita death rate from COVID-19 in Europe, and one of the highest in the world) the British remain world leaders at managing global Fake News. As long as the tone remains restrained and dignified, literally any slander will be swallowed by the credulous and every foul scandal and shame can be confidently covered up.

None of this would have surprised the late, great George Orwell. It is fashionable these days to endlessly trot him out as a zombie (dead but alleged to be living – so that he cannot set the record straight himself) critic of Russia and all the other global news outlets outside the control of the New York and London plutocracies. And it is certainly true, that Orwell, whose hatred and fear of communism was very real, served before his death as an informer to MI-5, British domestic security.

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U.S. Regional Imperialism: Big Sticks, and Even Bigger Guns, by Danny Sjursen

There are a myriad of good reasons why people in Latin America want Yankees to go home. From Danny Sjursen at theamericanconservative.com

Our history in Latin America is marked by arrogance and aggression. Is what’s happening in Venezuela any different?

Uncle Sam straddles the Americas while wielding a big stick labeled ‘Monroe Doctrine.’ American cartoon by Louis Dalrymple, 1905. (public domain)
Uncle Sam doesn’t have the best track record in Latin America. Few foreign policy elites seem to care. Yet, in what the regional proconsul, Admiral Craig Faller of Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), recently called “our hemisphere” and “our neighborhood,” the actual residents haven’t forgotten. Odds are, the U.S. will be even less welcome after the latest local adventure, the bizarre foiled American mercenary-led coup meant to topple President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

It is tempting and not unreasonable to dismiss the recent folly as an incompetent one-off. No doubt, by any practical measure it must be judged—an appropriate term since “Operation Gideon,” was named for a biblical Hebrew jurist—a total failure. Karl Marx famously intoned that “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.” Seen thus, the disastrous 1961 CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Fidel Castro’s Cuba counts as the tragedy; and the newest escapade as farce. Neat though the analogy be, this would be a mistake.

The broad contours of the coup attempt are widely reported. Combat-seasoned former U.S. green berets from the private military company Silvercorp, allegedly negotiated a lucrative contract with the Venezuelan opposition to violently replace Maduro with Juan Guaidó. The mission fell apart for a variety of reasons: incompetence, internecine division, and regime infiltration. Yet, for all the drama involved its occurrence wasn’t a total shock.

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The Trump Administration Kills Coldly in Yemen, Putting Jobs Before Lives, by Doug Bandow

Why has America been Saudi Arabia’s bitch for so long? From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

Many observers have been mystified by the Saudi regime’s hold over President Donald Trump. For years he had criticized the gaggle of corrupt, dissolute royals. He also asked why Americans were paying to defend the wealthy, licentious al-Saud family, as it practiced totalitarianism at home and promoted Islamic fundamentalism abroad, including in America.

Yet Trump made his first trip as president to Saudi Arabia. Some observers wondered if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had salvaged his infamous orb from Mordor’s collapse eons ago and used it to take control of the president’s mind. No other explanation made sense.

Now the New York Times reports that the fault lies with Peter Navarro, the protectionist aide who spends much of his time urging economic and real war with China. He apparently was instrumental in convincing the president to put the profits of munition makers before the lives of Yemenis.

Consider the tragedy that had befallen Yemen, a deeply divided and tragically impoverished nation. During the Arab Spring the Yemeni people ousted the longtime president, leaving a weak and unpopular successor. The former chief executive joined a longtime rebel movement to overthrow the government. All par for the course in a divided land that has never known peace or stability.

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Two Decades of War in Afghanistan Is Enough, by Doug Bandow

Afghanistan may be the ultimate 21st century US foreign policy adventure—futile, corrupt, and never ending. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

The Trump administration is edging America toward the exit in Afghanistan, nearly two decades after President George W. Bush intervened in the aftermath of 9/11. The U.S. quickly dispersed Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and ousted the Taliban, only to spend the following years failing to build a stable, liberal democracy centered in Kabul.

America’s extended commitment of lives and resources to Afghanistan never made sense. If there is one spot on the planet in which the US has little strategic interest, it is Afghanistan. The latter is geographically distant, landlocked among Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan is strongly tribal and socially traditional, a Muslim country ruled at the village and valley. With formal borders drawn by British officials, Afghans have strong family, ethnic, and religious ties across nations. US officials had little contact with Afghanistan prior to the 1979 Soviet invasion, which Washington used to bleed America’s Cold War adversary.

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Please Tell the Establishment That U.S. Hegemony is Over, by Daniel Larison

To paraphrase a line from one of the Star Wars films: the harder the US grasps for empire, the more it slips away. From Daniel Larison at theamericanconservative.com:

Our dominance in the world is in the rear view, yet Trump and other pols refuse to get the message.

Donald Trump gives a national security speech aboard the World War II Battleship USS Iowa, September 15, 2015, in San Pedro, California. (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 10 years ago, the columnist Charles Krauthammer asserted that American “decline is a choice,” and argued tendentiously that Barack Obama had chosen it. Yet looking back over the last decade, it has become increasingly obvious that this decline has occurred irrespective of what political leaders in Washington want.

The truth is that decline was never a choice, but the U.S. can decide how it can respond to it. We can continue chasing after the vanished, empty glory of the “unipolar moment” with bromides of American exceptionalism. We can continue to delude ourselves into thinking that military might can make up for all our other weaknesses. Or we can choose to adapt to a changed world by prudently husbanding our resources and putting them to uses more productive than policing the world.

There was a brief period during the 1990s and early 2000s when the U.S. could claim to be the world’s hegemonic power. America had no near-peer rivals; it was at the height of its influence across most of the globe. That status, however, was always a transitory one, and was lost quickly thanks to self-inflicted wounds in Iraq and the natural growth of other powers that began to compete for influence. While America remains the most powerful state in the world, it no longer dominates as it did 20 years ago. And there can be no recapturing what was lost.

Alexander Cooley and Dan Nexon explore these matters in their new book, Exit From Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order. They make a strong case for distinguishing between the old hegemonic order and the larger international order of which it is a part. As they put it, “global international order is not synonymous with American hegemony.” They also make careful distinctions between the different components of what is often simply called the “liberal international order”: political liberalism, economic liberalism, and liberal intergovernmentalism. The first involves the protection of rights, the second open economic exchange, and the third the form of international order that recognizes legally equal sovereign states. Cooley and Nexon note that both critics and defenders of the “liberal international order” tend to assume that all three come as a “package deal,” but point out that these parts do not necessarily reinforce each other and do not have to coexist.

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What Will Be the New American Cause? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Will the US have the money for any American cause? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

After the Great Pandemic has passed and we emerge from Great Depression II, what will be America’s mission in the world?

What will be America’s cause?

We have been at such a turning point before.

After World War II, Americans wanted to come home. But we put aside our nation-building to face the challenge of a malevolent Stalinist empire dominant from the Elbe river to the Barents Sea.

And after persevering for four decades, we prevailed.

What, then, did we do with our epochal victory?

We alienated Russia by moving our NATO military alliance into the Baltic and Black Seas. We launched bloody, costly crusades for democracy in the Middle East that, invariably, failed. We exported a huge slice of our manufacturing capacity and economic independence to a coddled China.

Historically, blunders of such magnitude have undone great powers.

Even before COVID-19, Americans had begun to realize the folly of decades of mindless interventionism over matters irrelevant to our vital interests. “Unsustainable” was the word commonly associated with our foreign policy.

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